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The Four Parenting Styles and How They Differ

“Don’t try to tell me how to raise MY child!” spoken by moms, to mother in-laws for centuries. Of the many differing variations in how we raise children, most parenting strategies can be broken down into one of these four “styles.” They are called the Baumrind parenting styles. We are going to be discussing how each of the styles differ, and also help you to find out what your style is, and what you’d like it to be.

Authoritarian Parenting

The Authoritarian parents are the disciplinarians. They have strict rules and negotiation is almost entirely out of the question. These parents punish frequently, and communication is a one way street. They are less nurturing than most of the other styles, and are inflexible with nearly everything. Rules set by authoritarian parents are almost never explained, but ALWAYS expected to be followed.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive or indulgent parents pretty much let their children do whatever they want. The guidance and direction these parents provide are, minimal. These are the parents who act more like their child’s friend, than leader. The way these parents discipline their children is by letting the kids figure things out on their own. They are in no way strict, or demanding, and they let the children make their own decisions, rather than tell them what to do. Parents who use this style are often quite warm and nurturing, and also likely to be seen trying to scrape their child up off of the floor in the cereal aisle.

Uninvolved Parenting

Uninvolved parents give their children a lot of freedom. Not unlike the previous style, these parents mostly just stay out of the way and let their kids figure things out for themselves. The reason for this may be a lack of caring on the part of the parent, or simply not knowing what to do or how to handle the situation. There isn’t much communication between parent and child and nurturing is often limited as well.

Authoritative Parenting

Parents in this category are nurturing and are very reasonable, but have clear, set rules, and expectations. This parenting style is said to be the most beneficial to children, because kids raised in this style are often self disciplined and able to think clearly and responsibly for themselves. Authoritative parents always explain why their children are being disciplined, and do so in a manner that is appropriate for the age of the child.

Over the years, additional styles have been brought to light. “Helicopter parenting” is a mixed style, similar to Authoritative parenting but at the same time, being more involved, some might say too involved, in the child’s life. Free range parenting, resembles  the uninvolved style, but done intentionally to result is independent thinking of the child. What strategies do you use? Almost no one only uses just one style, some may use them all. Being a parent is hard. So much harder than we were ever told it would be. Parenting support groups, or even just talking to other parents can be very reassuring at times. No matter what your style, we all want the best for our children, and automatically knowing how to provide that, wasn’t in the instruction manual, or did I miss that chapter?

Marina Burks
Marina Burks
My name is Marina Burks, I am 26 years old and I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I have always excelled in English and writing classes, but don’t ask me how to find out how much tax will be on that cute dress... I couldn’t tell you.


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